There’s nothing like a well-earned vacation to soothe the soul after a particularly testing period at work, but for many the idea of ‘rest and relaxation’ is just as taxing as the thought of another long weekend in the office. If you’re this type of person, you’ll know the only serious way to unwind is to get out there and do something else – whether it’s climbing a mountain, exploring a vast and craggy network of caves, visiting a Theme Park, or swimming in an icy lake.
The pre-packaged fun of Disneyland and other theme parks is anathema to such personalities, but it does beg the question: isn’t the great outdoors kind of a theme park of its own? That thought engrossed the people at Expedia so much that they decided to do something about it – and have rebranded the wilds of the United States as an imaginary theme park in this new series of stunning speculative maps.
In this alternate reality, Alaska’s Kobuk Valley National Park becomes Mammoth Valley, so called because the sand-duned landscape was roamed by woolly mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers just 150 centuries ago. Today, you’re more likely to find caribou and wolves, so the sense of danger remains intense even if sensible behavior should get you home in perfect safety!
The west coast of the States is a true natural theme park site. The area of thermal pools the Natives have long called the Valley of the Vapors is today better known as Hot Springs National Park, but in Expedia’s world it becomes The Healing Pool – a place where young, old, rich and poor come to soak up the naturally healthy steams of the Arkansas springs. And New Mexico’s White Sands National Monument becomes Snow Desert: a blinding white sand-scape inviting you for fun rides such as cycling and sand-sledding.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park towards the east coast is named for the former president whose ideas about conservation have helped to maintain America’s wild spaces to this day. But it’s not quite such an exciting name as Animal Kingdom Safari, Expedia’s alternative, which refers to the bison, coyotes, feral horses, elk, and countless bird species you’ll see while kayaking or skiing though this all-American expedition. North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park becomes the dreamily-named Blue Fog, where you’ll experience the mountain culture of Southern Appalachian region amidst the unreal mists of those heady peaks.
And finally to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, where Kilauea and Mauna Loa – two of the most active volcanoes in the world – have earned the theme park ride name Double Trouble. You’ll get a real insight into the workings beneath this particular ride, since the volcanoes are evidence of the constantly-changing environment below our feet. By daylight or at night by the glow of the fiery Earth, you’ll be reminded that whatever engineering the boffins at the big name theme parks have achieved – our incredible planet has already done it on a bigger, scarier scale.
Sounds like a good way to wind down at the end of that big project? Well, with which ride are you gonna start?